New Generation of Land Artists Embodies a Call for Action 

David Brooks, “Death Mask for Landscape” (detail) (photo Lynn Trimble/Hyperallergic)

TEMPE, AZ — A monumental hydroponics tower by interdisciplinary artist Steven Yazzie (Diné/Laguna Pueblo) glows with a bright white light inside a gallery space at Arizona State University (ASU) Art Museum, where its spiral form echoes Robert Smithson’s renowned “Spiral Jetty.” It’s been just over half a century since Smithson created his earthwork sculpture on the northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake in Utah, where it remains a marker for the ecologically focused Land Art movement launched during the 1960s. 

Titled “Yuméweuš” (2022), Yazzie’s tower bears amaranth plants grown using seeds sourced from Native Seeds/SEARCH in Tucson. Working inside the museum, which is located on the university’s Tempe campus, Yazzie surrounded the base of the totemic cylindrical garden with a sand painting that combines Native American and scientific imagery.

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